Using SimplyMap to Understand Fitness Trends and Consumer Demand

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, Business & Economics Subject Specialist at Ohio University Libraries has produced some excellent tutorial videos to help students learn how to analyze data and create maps and reports using SimplyMap. The latest addition to Chad’s Business Blog involves a feasibility analysis of opening a fitness center franchise in Indianapolis, Indiana. This video shows how to better understand the fitness market and locate potential competitors in Indianapolis using SimplyMap. The approach used can be applied to analysis of local consumer trends and competitors in other fields as well, all using data found in SimplyMap.

– Video: How to analyze local consumer trends and competitors in the personal fitness market using SimplyMap (6:39)

A list of all of Chad’s video resources on SimplyMap can be found here.

Thank you to Chad for developing these valuable resources and making them available to the SimplyMap community!

Ohio University Business Blog


New Tutorials for SimplyMap Users

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SimplyMap includes a number of helpful support tools; guided wizards available when and where you need them, detailed help files, and an online support center with FAQs and searchable knowledge-base.

Along with the release of SimplyMap 3.0, we have recently updated the tutorial library, posting several new videos. Once you login to SimplyMap, you can find these videos by clicking on the Help tab and then selecting the topic you are interested in.

We have general how-to tutorials for those just getting started:

  • Map Tutorial
  • Report Tutorial
  • Ranking Tutorial
  • Ring Study Tutorial
  • Business Points Tutorial

And now, we have advanced tutorials that address some of the more advanced SimplyMap functions:

Mapping Demographic Data
This tutorial highlights how to analyze demographic data for specific locations. The video walks through creating a map showing all zip codes in a major city. It includes updating break points, creating a ranking from a map, and exporting maps and reports with the demographic data.

Data Filters
Learn how to create data filters and apply them to both maps and reports to identify specific characteristics of the data.

Adding Locations
Users learn how to use the i-Tool effectively in this tutorial. We show you how to create a map and select locations from that map with the i-Tool in order to easily create reports around those locations.

As always, we are open to your suggestions. If you feel a specific tutorial would be helpful, get in touch with us at


SimplyMap 3.0 is Here!

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SimplyMap 3.0 is here, and uses the latest technology to provide better performance, improved reliability, and powerful new features. There are many improvements designed to make it easier than ever to find and analyze data and create professional, GIS quality thematic maps. Here are the most significant changes.

New Maps, Enhanced User Interface
SimplyMap 3.0 uses the latest mapping technology and improved basemap styling. Our maps are more detailed than ever, yet easy to digest. The rest of the SimplyMap interface has also received a subtle face lift.

Business Points Report
Create and export lists of businesses directly in a report.

Customizable Map Exports
Significant improvements to map exports allow users to crop map images, control paper size and page orientation, and export maps as high resolution vector images.

Location Aliases
Give locations an alias, or nickname, (e.g., “My House” or “Target Area”) to make them more user friendly.

i-Tool Enhancements
Click anywhere on the map with the new i-Tool to identify all geographic units for that location.

More Compatible
Cross browser compatibility now includes Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer 7 and higher.

Explore SimplyMap today!



SimplyMap 3.0 Tips and Tricks – The i-Tool

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Do you know the quickest way to find the name of a Block Group, Census Tract or ZIP code in our upcoming release for 3.0?  The i-Tool gives you the ability to click anywhere on a map to get more detailed information about that map point.

On any map tab in SimplyMap, click on the i-Tool icon on the toolbar (circled):

SimplyMap i-Tool

The cursor changes to a question mark and you can now click anywhere on the map to get more detail. The active geographic unit, specified in the Legend, will determine what type of location is selected when you click (e.g., block group, census tract, ZIP code, county, etc.).

Click a specific location on the map and you’ll see a new selection box appear with information and options:

SimplyMap i-Tool Function

Browse the alternative locations to see what other geographic units apply to this point or:

  • Use this Location: Zoom the map to a different geographic unit in the area clicked with the iTool selector
  • Add to Favorites: Adds the clicked location to your Favorites for easy future access
  • Add to Combination: Add the location to a current combination location or create a brand new combination.
  • Add Alias: This allows you to rename the clicked location with a more familiar or recognizable alias, or nickname, and add the new alias to the Recent Locations list.

Exploring SimplyMap Data: Possible Days of Rain

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Anyone who has traveled to Seattle hoping for a sunny day could fairly estimate that it is one of the rainiest states with the highest level of precipitation each year. SimmonsLOCAL variables in SimplyMap include Annual Precipitation data by year, but we can also look at frequency by days of the year. The particular data point shown here represents mean number of days where rain was present out of 365 days, rather than total inches of rain annually.

SimplyMap Days of Rain

When we first ran this map, we initially overlooked the small state of Hawaii. It wasn’t until we ran a ranking report that we realized it topped the list.

Creating a ranking report with the SimmonsLOCAL “Mean Number Days of Rain” variable, we found that in 2012, there were 221 days of rain in Hawaii compared to Washington with only 128.

SimplyMap Ranking

To further understand where the rain falls in Hawaii on a map level, we zoomed in for more exact detail by ZIP code.

The ability to quickly toggle between various maps, rankings and reports is helpful for digesting and analyzing the data. Viewing the data in various formats helps the researcher catch nuances in the data and ensure important details are not missed.


Exploring SimplyMap Data: Recycling Attitudes in SimmonsLOCAL

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We recently discovered some interesting data on participation and attitudes towards recycling, and decided to dig a bit deeper into our Experian SimmonsLOCAL data. This data package includes over 60,000 variables that provide insight into consumer behavior and attitudes. Examples include # of adults (population 18 years and older) who feel it is their “duty” to recycle, and percent of adult population who recycle various materials including glass, plastic or paper.

By creating a Ranking report through SimplyMap, we highlighted some additional, interesting data points:

  • New Jersey tops the list at 33% with the highest percentage of adults that believe it is their “duty” to recycle. They even beat California at 32%.
  • Alabama, Utah, Mississippi are Arkansas are the states least likely to recycle. Over 30% of participants surveyed admitted to never recycling glass specifically.

Visit our Booth at the NCLA Conference – October 15 – 18th 2013

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Registration is now open for the North Carolina Library Association Conference!

NCLA 2013

Visit us at the 60th biennial conference (Booth #45) through October 15 – 18, 2013.   We have beautiful canvas totes for your next library trip and you can hear more about our upcoming release of SimplyMap!


“Stronger Together”
Benton Convention Center
301 W 5th Steet
Winston-Salem, NC 27101


Preview Keynote Speakers and Register Now!




Come see us at ALA 2013 in Chicago – June 28 – July 1

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We will be exhibiting at ALA 2013 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL, June 28-July 1.

The ALA Annual Conference programs, updates, conversations, and other events cover all of the key issues facing libraries and include a wide range of networking opportunities and fun events. Don’t miss out on this huge event and don’t forget to visit the GRI team for the latest updates on SimplyMap, a quick demo, tips and tricks, and of course some amazing chocolates and a chance to enter our raffle for a wide-screen monitor!

Click here to learn more about the ALA Conference.

Make sure to visit us at booth #1760!

Friday, 28 June | 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, 29 June | 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, 30 June | 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Monday, 1 July | 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m


GRI Exhibiting at SLA Conference San Diego June 9th-11th

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The GRI team is looking forward to exhibiting at SLA 2013 at the San Diego Convention Center, June 9th through the 11th.

The Special Libraries Association (SLA) is a nonprofit global organization for innovative information professionals and their strategic partners. SLA serves more than 9,000 members in 75 countries in the information profession, including corporate, academic and government information specialists. SLA promotes and strengthens its members through learning, advocacy, and networking initiatives.

Click here to learn more about the SLA Conference.

Be sure and visit us at booth #337 for a peek at the latest updates to SimplyMap (ask us about the new improved map export!) and a chance to win a new widescreen monitor.

Sunday, 9 June | 11:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Monday, 10 June | 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 11 June | 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.


GRI Exhibiting at ACRL, Indianapolis April 10 – 12

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The GRI team is looking forward to exhibiting at ACRL 2013 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis April 10 – 12, 2013.

Every other year, ACRL offers its premier professional development event devoted exclusively to the needs of academic and research librarians.

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association, is a professional association of academic librarians and other interested individuals. It is dedicated to enhancing the ability of academic library and information professionals to serve the information needs of the higher education community and to improve learning, teaching, and research.

Click here for conference info and be sure to visit us at Booth 541!

Exhibit Hours:
Wednesday, April 10 – 5:45 – 7:30PM Opening Reception in Exhibit Hall
Thursday, April 11 – 9:00 am – 4:30 pm Exhibit Hall Open
Friday, April 12 – 9:00 am – 4:00p m Exhibit Hall Open